Posts Tagged ‘American Analog Set’

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

"Line Of Best Fit"

The Wooden Birds’ Andrew Kenny covers Death Cab For Cutie

Photo By dcfc-tour.netdcfc-tour.netThough if I’m being period-correct, the title of this post should probably read “American Analog Set’s Andrew Kenny”, seeing as how when the Home: Volume V EP was released in 2003, he was still fronting his beloved Austin-based atmospheric-pop outfit. Only since putting it in mothballs a half-decade ago has he had The Wooden Birds at the top of his resume. But semantics.

The mini-album was a split release that paired a set of Kenny compositions with a set by Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard, done bedroom studio-style, and a bonus of each covering one of the others’ songs. This here is Kenny’s take on the closing track from Death Cab’s emo-tacular debut Something About Airplanes, condensing the original’s drawn-out atmospheric jam to something simpler and more wistful, though Kenny could do a Motorhead cover and it’d feel wistful. For his part, Gibbard covered AmAnSet’s “Choir Vandals” from Know By Heart.

Kenny’s new outfit The Wooden Birds are in town at The Drake next Sunday night, July 11, for their first-ever Toronto show in support of album number two, Two Matchsticks. Death Cab For Cutie bring their latest Codes And Keys to The Molson Amphitheatre on July 29.

MP3: Andrew Kenny – “Line Of Best Fit”
Stream: Death Cab For Cutie – “Line Of Best Fit”

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Don't Worry About The Future

Review of Dog Day's Concentration and giveaway

Photo By Paul HammondPaul HammondHalifax’s Dog Day have got the goods to be a terrific pure pop band, capable of crafting sublime melodies and hooks, but their fondness for the noisier virtues of the indie rock canon of the ’90s ensures that they’ll never be quite so easy to pin down. As such, their 2006 effort Night Group was an incongruous yet perfectly natural bit of doom-pop, all spiky and sweet – heavy and foreboding in intent but eminently hummable in execution.

Their recently-released follow-up Concentration takes those same classic college rock ingredients and brews up something familiar, but still new. It’s less immediate than Night Group, yet somehow smoother and more melodic and textured with Seth Smith’s vocals still distinctively monotone but Nancy Urich’s vox much stronger and expressive on this outing. Some may bemoan the absence of Night Group‘s punchier elements but the dream-pop qualities of Concentration reveal themselves with deeper listens and are just as rewarding.

Touring Night Group to death was a successful strategy for the band last time out, so it’s only logical that they pile into the van yet again for Concentration. Their cross-Canada tour already covered the Maritimes earlier this month but they’re covering all points Quebec and west starting next week, including a date at Lee’s Palace in Toronto on the 28th of May. Courtesy of Against The Grain, I’ve got five pairs of passes to give away for this show which will also feature The Burning Hell, Wild Life and Pacific Trash Vortex and on top of that, courtesy of Pigeon Row, I’ve got two copies of Concentration on vinyl available to give away. I’ll run these contests separately, so to enter both, email me twice – contests AT – either with “I want to see Dog Day” in the subject line and your full name in the body for the passes, or “I want to hear Dog Day” in the subject line and your full mailing address in the body for the vinyl. Contest closes at midnight, May 26th.

There’s an interview with Dog day at The Coast.

Update: Just announced – Dog Day are also doing an in-store at Soundscapes on May 27 at 6PM.

MP3: Dog Day – “Rome”
Video: Dog Day – “Happiness”
MySpace: Dog Day

I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of the new Royal City compilation Royal City, and can tell you it’s a beautiful package – hardcover and bookbound – and oh yeah, the music is pretty terrific too. The limited edition set collects an album’s worth of unreleased material from the departed Guelph outfit and is set for release June 23.

MP3: Royal City – “Can’t You Hear Me Calling”
MP3: Royal City – “A Belly Was Made For Wine”

Royal City guitarist Jim Guthrie’s new project Human Highway was just featured in a session on NPR.

NOW and The Cord talk to Joel Plaskett, who plays Massey Hall tomorrow night.

Metric have rolled out a new video from Fantasies.

Video: Metric – “Sick Muse”

eMusic and The Quietus have typically entertaining interviews with Jarvis Cocker. He also talks to The Guardian about his thespian ambitions in the new Wes Anderson adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Fantastic Mr Fox.

It’s like a nostalgia trip back to SxSW 2009 at Bandstand Busking as they present a session with Fanfarlo and another with Theoretical Girl.

These days it’s rare that a record of interest is put out without my being bombarded with press releases about it well in advance, so it was a pleasant surprise to discover the existence of Hard To Find – a digital-only collection of American Analog Set rarities which quietly came out in April. Covering the band’s years with Tiger Style and Arts & Crafts, it acts as a companion volume to 2001’s Through The ’90s. Considering that Andrew Kenny is now dedicated to his new project The Wooden Birds, this set could act as the final whirr and click in the quietly lovely story of AmAnSet.

MP3: The American Analog Set – “Stoney Chariots”
MP3: The American Analog Set – “Make It Take It”

Exclaim reports on the copyright clusterfuck that will essentially prevent the Danger Mouse/Sparklehorse collaboration Dark Night Of The Soul from seeing any “legal” release.

Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeahs talks to Billlboard. They’re releasing a remix EP for “Zero” on June 9 on vinyl – it’s available digitally now.

Artrocker interviews School Of Seven Bells. They’ve also got a new video. A trippy new video.

Video: School Of Seven Bells – “My Cabal”

The Line Of Best Fit, The Sun, The Georgia Straight and The Village Voice have features on Grizzly Bear. They’ll release Veckatimest next Tuesday, May 26, and have a show at the Phoenix on June 5. There’s also an in-studio performance at WNYC streaming at NPR.

Decider and Rolling Stone interview St Vincent’s Annie Clark. She will be at Lee’s Palace on August 8, and has just made available another MP3 from Actor.

MP3: St. Vincent – “Actor Out Of Work”

Paste and Decider have interviews with John Vanderslice, while I Pick My Nose has an interview AND a tour of the ‘Slice’s garden. He will be at the Horseshoe on July 10.

Good Times, Metro Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz Sentinel talk to Jenny Lewis.

My contest to give away copies of Dean Wareham’s memoirs Black Postcards wraps up tomorrow night, but if you don’t win a copy – and let me just say that the response to the contest has been overwhelmingly good and I wish I could give you all books – take heart, the folks at Ear Farm are also giving copies away AND they’ve got an interview with Wareham to go with it. So head on over and hedge your bets.

Other commitments keep me from partaking in this year’s Over The Top Fest, which began last night, but if you’re around this weekend and are looking to partake in some music and/or film, it’s really your best bet for discovering something new. There’s previews of some of the acts at this week’s NOW and eye.

Ottawa’s I Heart Music has been a tireless promoter of independent Canadian music for some years now, introducing both myself and countless others to great up-and-coming domestic talent via the blog and many, many live showcases. And it appears that no good deed goes unpunished as SOCAN, the national agency tasked to collecting royalties for Canadian songwriters, has gone after Matthew for royalties owed on his live shows, to the tune of a couple thousand dollars. Now if you’re of the inclination to donate to music media types in financial distress, you’ve obviously got a few options these days but Matt is fighting the good fight and deserves some support.

Friday, March 27th, 2009

SxSW 2009 A/V – The American Analog Set

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThe American Analog Set
Austin, Texas, USA

Seminal Austin slow-core band reunites for one-off performance of their 1999 album The Golden Band. Frontman Andrew Kenney now plays in The Wooden Birds, whose debut Magnolia will be out May 12
Show review

Photos: The American Analog Set @ Club DeVille – March 20, 2009
Video: The American Analog Set – “I Must Soon Quit The Scene”
MySpace: The American Analog Set

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

SxSW 2009 Day Three

The Hold Steady, The Wrens, American Analog Set and more at SxSW 2009

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThe Hot Freaks! Yesterday was the day, the first of our third big to-do at SxSW. To say I was excited was an understatement – the past two were my highlights of SxSW if not my whole year and there wasn’t any reason to think this year would be any different.

And yes things got off to a bang. Throwing the whole notion of headliners closing things out, The Wrens agreed to open the show up at high noon on the Mohawk’s patio, and if they were feeling sluggish from their 1AM showcase the night before, it didn’t show. It had been some years since I’d seen them – over five, to be exact – but the band were manic as ever onstage, if not more. Maybe the long break since The Meadowlands has made them extra hungry to get out and play, but whatever it is, they who’ve been called the best live band in America show no signs of being ready to give up that title – give us that new record and hit the road!

As The Wrens finished up their set, I dashed inside the Mohawk where The Rural Alberta Advantage were starting theirs. They were the only band I had planned on seeing twice this week, and considering the first time was just last night, there’s not a lot else I can say. Granted, the inside of the Mohawk is a slightly different sort of room from the Central Presbyterian Church, but one thing they had in common was being filled with people discovering the band and presumably, since there’s really no other logical response, loving them.

Showing they know how to mark a tenth anniversary, Insound had stacked their stage over at Club DeVille to a ridiculous degree – this was where I was going to be spending the rest of the day, no question. I got there in time to see Handsome Furs, whom if you believe some of the coverage from CMW last week were the only band that mattered. I’ve never managed to love or even like the band as much as some, but do find their live show and its utter rawness engaging. Dan Boeckner has got rock star charisma to spare and Alexei Perry’s beats may be simple, but they’re insistent and effective. Hard not to get caught up in their set.

If they got Club DeVille worked up, then the briefly reunited American Analog Set brought things way down in the best possible way. On hiatus since 2005’s Set Free, they got back together to pull a “Don’t Look Back”-esque revisit to 1999’s The Golden Band for this show only. A special occasion to say the least. I’d forgotten how beautifully hypnotic AmAnSet was, particularly their earlier records – I’d only seen them live in their (slightly) more upbeat and poppier configurations. This show, however, was all shimmering vibraphone, whirring farfisa and Andrew Kenny’s somnambulant vocals – pure aural beauty in its sleepiest form. Though it’s great that Kenny has a new project in The Wooden Birds, I hope this isn’t the last of AmAnSet (although I sort of do, since it means I was there).

Though The Thermals were playing what seemed like a hundred and one shows at SxSW to drum up interest in their forthcoming Now We Can See, out April 7, they’re certainly giving their all to all of them, if this show was any indication. Mixing up new material with old, though tragically “Pillar Of Salt” was cut, The Thermals’ set was compact but pulverizingly good, with Hutch Harris and Kathy Foster bouncing around the stage while new drummer Westin Glass laid the foundation. Simple, direct and so good.

And finally, The Hold Steady. It’s possible they were at SxSW to promote their new live CD/DVD set A Positive Rage, out April 7, but it’s also possible they just heard that there was a big party down in Texas and there was beer. Whatever. The Hold Steady doesn’t need an excuse. Now most sets at SxSW – official or unofficial, big band or small band – clock in at around 40 minutes, and I expected The Hold Steady to do the same. But when they were setting up the stage in front of a jam-packed Club DeVille, they taped down a set list in front of me and there were 21 – Twenty-one – songs written down. This was not going to be a sampler, this was going to be a full and proper set. ZOMG, as the kids say.

And oh my god, what a set. I’ve seen the Hold Steady a number of times and it’s never anything less than a great show, but for whatever reason – maybe the small venue, maybe the party atmosphere of the festival, maybe the ruthless efficiency with which they tore through their set – this may have been the best one I’ve seen them play. Though they’ve justifiably graduated to larger venues and have proven their ability to work the large rooms effectively, they still come across best in the small scale where Craig Finn can sweat on you directly (as he did to me more than a little) and lead the audience in singalongs. And for 70 minutes, covering material from across their entire career, they just killed and killed and killed. They didn’t, however, make it all the way through the set list – they had to call it at 18, leaving out “Stay Positive”, “Cheyenne Sunrise” and “Slapped Actress”. I would have loved to hear them all, but I don’t think there’s any room for complaining of any kind here.


Thursday, March 5th, 2009

The Sweetest Thing

Hot Freaks at SxSW 2009… revealed!

Photo By Donald MilneDonald MilneThe first one went over like gangbusters, and the second one was even better… so why wouldn’t we do it all again for 2009? Yes’m, I’m once again very proud to be able to announce – along with fellow music blog compatriots Aquarium Drunkard, Gorilla Vs Bear, Largehearted Boy, My Old Kentucky Blog and You Ain’t No Picasso – the lineup for Hot Freaks 2009, taking place during SxSW at the Mohawk and Club DeVille in Austin, Texas on March 20 and 21. Two days, three stages, 32 acts.

It’s taken a little longer than usual to get things together this year, but it’s been worth the wait. I mean, we’ve had some pretty impressive Hot Freaks alumnus over the last couple years – St Vincent, Shearwater, The Polyphonic Spree, Grizzly Bear, Land Of Talk, Jens Lekman, Lykke Li, The Acorn and British Sea Power to name just a few – but I will hold this Hot Freaks lineup up against any of the others we’ve pulled together in the past. But don’t just take my word for it – have a look:

Friday, March 20, 2009

Club DeVille (Insound Stage)
12:30 PM Obits / MySpace / MP3: “Pine On”
1:30 PM Handsome Furs / MySpace / MP3: “I’m Confused”
2:30 PM American Analog Set / MySpace
3:30 PM The Thermals / MySpace / MP3: “Now We Can See”
4:30 PM The Hold Steady / MySpace

The Mohawk Patio
12:00 PM The Wrens / MySpace / MP3: “Everyone Choose Sides”
1:00 PM Bishop Allen / MySpace / MP3: “Dimmer”
2:00 PM The Henry Clay People / MySpace / MP3: “Something In The Water”
3:00 PM Port O’Brien / MySpace / MP3: “I Woke Up Today”
4:00 PM The Rosebuds / MySpace / MP3: “Life Like”
5:00 PM Delta Spirit / MySpace / MP3: “People C’Mon”

The Mohawk Inside
12:30 PM The Rural Alberta Advantage / MySpace / MP3: “Don’t Haunt This Place”
1:30 PM We Have Band / MySpace / MP3: “Hear It In The Cans”
2:30 PM These United States / MySpace / MP3: “Honor Amongst Thieves”
3:30 PM Alela Diane / MySpace / MP3: “White As Diamonds”
4:30 PM Richard Swift / Richard Swift / MP3: “Lady Luck”

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Club DeVille
12:30 PM Real Estate / MySpace / MP3: “Black Lake”
1:30 PM Girls / MySpace / MP3: “Lust For Life”
2:30 PM The Grates / MySpace / MP3: “Burn Bridges”
3:30 PM Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains / MySpace / MP3: “American Names”
4:30 PM Jeremy Jay / MySpace / MP3: “Beautiful Rebel”

The Mohawk Patio
12:00 PM Harlem / MySpace
1:00 PM Jason Lytle / MySpace / MP3: “Birds Encouraged Him” (live)
2:00 PM Vivian Girls / MySpace / MP3: “Where Do You Run To?”
3:00 PM Viva Voce / MySpace / MP3: “Drown Them Out”
4:00 PM Peelander-Z / MySpace / MP3: “Ninja-High Schooool”
5:00 PM Camera Obscura / MySpace / MP3: “My Maudlin Career”

The Mohawk Inside
12:30 PM Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers / MySpace / MP3: “Filthy & Free”
1:30 PM Roadside Graves / MySpace
2:30 PM Mason Proper / MySpace / MP3: “Fog”
3:30 PM Lemonade / MySpace / MP3: “Big Weekend”
4:30 PM Amazing Baby / MySpace / MP3: “Bayonets”

The Wrens are kicking things off at noon. The Rural Alberta Advantage will still be riding high on opening up for Grizzly Bear the night before. The American Analog Set – reunited and reactivated for this show only! – are playing The Golden Band in its entirety. The Hold Steady will be holding court on the Insound stage. Alela Diane will mesmerize. The Grates will be bouncing off the walls. Jason Lytle will unveil his post-Grandaddy works. Peelander-Z will do… what Peelander Z does. And Camera Obscura will close things out by showcasing their forthcoming album My Maudlin Career. This, my friends, is what we call bliss.

And thanks go out to our main sponsors GOOM Radio and, who are offering 75 free songs for signups. Please respondez s’il vous plait – admission is free, PBRs are $1. Awesome is guaranteed. And sorry, this is a 21+ event – the drinks will be flowing.

Add all our shows to your calendar. You DO have one, right?

MP3: Guided By Voices – “Hot Freaks”